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10 Interesting Polar Bears Facts We Bet You Didn't Know

Polar Bear Facts

Polar bears are very interesting animals. However, since most people don’t live near or encounter polar bears, most of us don’t know much about them. 

As a result of our partnership with Polar Bears International, we have become more interested in these amazing creatures. We see how wonderful they are, and we take so much pride in the fact that our business can play a small role to protect polar bears.

To help spread the word about polar bear conservation, we would like to share some interesting polar bear facts and information.

19 Subpopulations 

Polar bears are not just a single population of animals. In fact, there are 19 distinct subpopulations throughout the arctic. Of the polar bears left in the world, about 60-80% live in Canada, with just two subpopulations increasing: M’Clintock Channel and Kane Basin. With so many subpopulations under threat, people need to act fast to save the polar bear.

They Can Swim Great Distances

With their large, slightly webbed paws, polar bears are great swimmers. They can swim at speeds of up to 6mph (which is faster than even the best human swimmers), and they can go for hours at a time to travel between pieces of sea ice. Polar bears have even been spotted swimming more than 60 miles offshore.

They Face a Lot of Threats

While climate change is the top threat to polar bear populations, it is not the only threat they face. Climate change is leading to a lack of sea ice, and this makes it more difficult for polar bears to hunt. Along with that, oil and gas concerns are steadily moving into the arctic and this is disrupting their habitat while also increasing the risk of pollution.

They are Marine Mammals

Since they are a species of bear, most people would assume that they are land animals like other bears. While many polar bears do spend some time on land, they spend most of their time at sea or on sea ice. With so much time spent away from land, polar bears are the only bear species to be classified as a marine mammal.

They Often Lose Their Prey

Many people would look at these large apex predators and assume that they have no problem catching their prey. The truth is that they are likely only successful on less than 2% of hunts. Polar bears can go months without eating in the summer and have months of binging in the spring. On average, they must eat about one adult seal per week to survive.

Grizzly Bear Hybrids

Grizzly-polar bear hybrids have been found in the wild. Though rare, DNA has confirmed that the two species do occasionally mate. The offspring are referred to as “grolar bears” or “pizzly bears” and they take on an appearance that is a cross between the two. 

Great Sense of Smell

Polar bears have an incredible sense of smell. These predators can smell a seal on the ice up to a mile away when the wind is right, and can smell a stinky whale or seal carcass from even farther. Once they find the breathing hole, the bear will sit patiently and wait for the seal to surface before springing to action.

They’re Actually Black

Polar bears only appear to be white. They have translucent fur that reflects all visible light. This gives the appearance of white fur, but beneath the reflective fur, the bears have  black skin.

A Male Can Weigh As Much As Ten Human Men

Weighing as much as 1700 lbs, male polar bears are massive. This is twice as much as the largest female polar bears, and at their largest, they could weigh more than ten men. 

They Share Food

With food being an issue for polar bear conservation, you would think that polar bears would be unlikely to share food. However, they have been observed sharing the meat from kills with other polar bears. To ask for food, a bear will slowly approach a feeding bear and circle around the carcass. The guest bear will then approach the bear with a gentle nose-to-nose greeting to see if the other bear is willing to share.

These are just a few interesting polar bear facts we would like to share. As you can see, these are incredible animals that can be surprising at times. If you are interested in polar bear conservation, we encourage you to visit the Polar Bears International website or check out our Save the Polar Bears campaign and polar bear bracelets.

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